Cyclone Donna: Authorities assessing Vanuatu damage as storm brushes past New Caledonia

Cyclone Donna: Authorities assessing Vanuatu damage as storm brushes past New Caledonia

Cyclone Donna: Authorities assessing Vanuatu damage as storm brushes past New Caledonia

Updated 10 May 2017, 12:15 AEST

Cyclone Donna continues to weaken as it moves down through the Pacific but still remains a severe category three system.

Emergency authorities and aid agencies are heading off to Vanuatu's northern provinces to assess the damage from Cyclone Donna.

Key points:

  • About 2,000 people populate the affected areas in northern Vanuatu
  • Authorities scramble to get much-needed water and supplies to those hit hardest
  • Cyclone Donna just misses New Caledonia

The storm is continuing to weaken as it moves down through the Pacific but still remains a severe category three system.

Corinne Ambler from the International Federation of Red Cross (ICRC) told the ABC's Pacific Beat program some seven government and aid agency personnel will take a light plane to Santo and then to Lo Island in the Torres Island group today, filled with freight and aid.

"The priority at the moment seems to be water, so we'll be taking a couple of hundred water containers, the collapsible type, some soap [and] some water purification tablets," Ms Ambler said.

"That kind of thing, because many of the toilets have been destroyed and the risk of disease is quite high.

The affected areas are estimated to have a population of about 2,000 people, 900 of which need immediate help and attention.

"A ship will probably take the rest of the supplies [like food] later on, which will take one or two weeks to get around those islands up there."

Meanwhile, Neville Koop from the Nadraki Weather Service told the ABC that Cyclone Donna had missed the main island in New Caledonia, but damaging weather is expected for today.

"Right now it's to the south-east of New Caledonia and starting to move away," he said.

"Although as I said, the Isle of Pines will still see some potentially damaging winds for a few hours this morning and some heavy rain, but largely as an event it's on the wind down now."

Donna is the third late-season cyclone to sweep through the Pacific, after storms Debbie and Cook pounded Australia and New Zealand.

On Monday, Cyclone Donna briefly upgraded to a category five storm making it the strongest out-of-season storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.

Stephen Meke, a senior forecaster at the Fiji Meteorological Service, said it was "very unusual" to see such a powerful storm well after the summer months have passed.

ABC/Wires